Why do you need a soundbar?
It’s just one of those hard, painful truths of life – a paper thin TV is just not able to produce the kind of sound that you want from a TV. That is why soundbars have become a must-have product for your home entertainment set-up.
Thankfully, you know longer have to be a member of the Geek Squad to be able to install a soundbar either. The set-up has gotten easier and easier to where today, you generally only have to plug a couple of wires and you are good to go.
As TVs have gotten thinner, more and more companies have started making their own version of the perfect soundbar. There are tons of options now, however as awesome as having options is, it can make choosing a bit of a chore.
What to expect from a soundbar under $200?
While these soundbars definitely won’t win awards in comparison to more expensive models, they will improve your TV-watching experience. This is particularly true in the quiet dialogue scenes where hearing what characters are saying is especially important.
Soundbars in this range come with a host of wireless connectivity options, including Bluetooth. One of the handiest features, Bluetooth-enabled devices allow you to connect your devices (phone, tablet, laptop, TV) to your soundbar with the tap of a button. Boosting the sound of your favorite music or YouTube video has never been easier.
Remember that we are talking about products under $200. This means that they are not necessarily going to be top of the line kind of products. Still, at less than $200, you can expect much clearer and louder sound than your TV set is capable of producing.
Important features to consider before making a purchase
There are many different features to consider before making your soundbar purchase. The following are a few to prioritize when shopping.
Sound quality is not about how loud a soundbar can be, but how loud it can be and still produce clear, distinct, accurate sound. Since TVs are so thin these days, that means that their speakers have had to become thinner and smaller too. This means that most TVs are not able to keep up with quality sound as you up the volume.
A soundbar is a solution to this problem. They are designed with one purpose – producing sound. As a result, even relatively inexpensive soundbars are going to provide a marked improvement in sound over your normal TV speakers.
There is nothing worse than being all excited about your brand new soundbar/TV set-up only to get home from the store or finally get your package in the mail, only to find out that you are missing a vital piece of connecting hardware. Since TVs and soundbars are made by different manufacturers at different times, they do not always have the same connector cables or ports. This means that you might have to procure adapter cables or plugs in order for your TV and your soundbar to communicate.
The vast majority of the cables used between TVs and soundbars are pretty standardized. Just make sure beforehand that you check to make sure that you have the correct connections and that everything will plug together as needed.
There are many different types and dimensions of speakers. However, remember that a big sized soundbar does not necessarily mean that it will produce a lot (or high quality) sound. When looking at different soundbars, keep in mind where you are planning on placing the bar. Will you put it under your TV? Will it be in an entertainment stand or mounted on the wall? Wherever you plan on having it, measure first to make sure it will fit. From the compact VIZIO SB2821-D6 to the long Wohome S9920, there are plenty of options for you to choose from evet in this price range.
Types of installation
Your soundbar will come with specific installation instructions. Some bare-bones models can be installed and set up within 10 minutes. Others require more attention to detail and care. Some will require some tools and maybe even some drilling. Be sure to read the instructions to avoid any confusion with your specific model.
There are a few things to consider in general when installing soundbars. In many cases, the soundbar’s best location is going to be right beneath the TV itself. Since your attention is already in that direction, it will be the most natural place for the sound to come from. If your TV is sitting on a table or cabinet, make sure that either your soundbar will fit underneath it or that there is room for your soundbar to sit in front of the TV slightly.
Some soundbars, like the Yamaha YAS-108, are designed to be mounted on the wall. If your TV is already mounted, then this is a logical choice for placing your soundbar. In this case, too, the prime location for the bar is underneath the TV to provide the best sound.
If you have ever hung a TV or a shelf, then you know the basic drill when it comes to wall mounting thing. Generally, the product will come with some kind of template to assist you as you mark and drill the holes. Just remember – measure twice, drill once!
With many things in life, it pays to read the fine print. The same is true when it comes to soundbars and other similar electronic equipment. Often they will come from the manufacturer with a 2-year warranty for speakers. Depending on where you buy it from, many sellers will offer their own additional protection plans in addition to the manufacturer warranty. Before you buy anything, make sure that you check carefully to see what is covered and what you may have to pay for (shipping, handling, etc.) in order to get your warranty fulfilled.
A soundbar is pretty basic in its function. For this reason, there are not a ton of different extra features available on most models. However, one extra feature that is extremely nice to have is Bluetooth. If you like to be able to control things with your phone (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t!) then having a Bluetooth enabled soundbar is definitely for you.
With Bluetooth, your soundbar doesn’t have to be only for your TV. You will be able to effortlessly connect all your different devices to your soundbar with a few touches of a button. A soundbar without Bluetooth will require hardwired connections that can be cumbersome and difficult to mess with.
If your soundbar does not have Bluetooth, there are options out there that can act as adapters. Basically, they plug into the soundbar like a normal device, but then when they are plugged in, they allow you to connect to the soundbar as if it did have Bluetooth capabilities.
As previously mentioned, the installation and usage of your soundbar will depend on your specific model. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your soundbar.
- Make sure that your soundbar is about the same width as your TV. This will camouflage the soundbar a bit and allow it to seamlessly integrate into your set-up.
- Follow the mounting instructions carefully to make sure your soundbar isn’t going anywhere after you have installed it! Plus, a solidly mounted piece will actually provide better sound too.
- Remember that low and low-mid frequencies are not covered very well by most soundbars (especially in this price range). Consider getting yourself a subwoofer to go along with your soundbar. This will cover those lower ranges and provide you with a fuller, richer sound.
- Before you buy, give it a try. Even if you are ordering online, most mainline models are available in a local store. Swing by and try out whatever model you are looking at before you purchase. When it comes to sound, this is the only surefire way to make sure you are getting what you are hoping for.